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Odds & Ends Around the Valley

Recycling the Office Garbage

Many businesses are beginning to establish recycling programs for the mountains of white paper and the heaps of aluminum, glass and plastic containers they throw out on a daily basis.

Waste Management--San Fernando Valley (you’ve probably seen its dumpsters around town) recently began a recycling division that carts away its clients’ white paper.

“Each person has a desktop recycler box and, during the day, you fill it with the white paper you generate. When it’s full, you take it to a collection depot--usually a bigger box that’s in the photocopy room. Depending on the building and the property manager, the paper goes from there into our company’s container. We cart it away and at the end of the quarter, the company gets a check,” said Ellen Laxer-Young, recycling coordinator in Waste Management’s Sun Valley office.

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She estimates that her company provides this service for 30 or 40 Valley office high-rises, most of them on Ventura Boulevard.

Recycling white paper requires a commitment from the person who is doing the tossing. The rules change constantly on what is or isn’t acceptable. For example, calculator tape is in one week, out the next.

“Our tenants have been most receptive to it. They call daily about the specifics,” said a property manager at Sumitomo Bank Building in Sherman Oaks. Several property managers involved in the program at other buildings noted that their tenants have set up additional in-house recycling programs for aluminum, glass and plastic.

Charley Jarrett of 20th Century Fox in Sherman Oaks set up an aluminum can recycling program at his office. “My bowling league collects them and uses the money for prize funds for our Thanksgiving tournament,” he said.

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A Local Hot Spot

You’d think that they were giving the food away at Bobby’s Coffee Shop on Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills. On weekends, people wait out on the sidewalk in the blazing Valley sun for their name to be called.

What’s the allure?

Merle DePrey of Woodland Hills figures that he has been going to Bobby’s for 25 years. “It’s got a great atmosphere--noisy, busy. You smell the fresh bacon as you pull up. And if you’re with a bunch of guys, you can tell a dirty joke and no one will hear you,” he said.

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“We moved here from the East Coast five days ago and we’ve already been here twice,” said Susan Eastman of Woodland Hills, who was accompanied by her husband and son. “You have to find just the right breakfast spot and this place was reputed to be the place. The ultimate compliment is that it’s as good as Walter’s Coffee Shop in Miami. . . .”

Many customers like the quantity and quality of the food. “The bacon has meat on it,” said Aron Marquis, 20, of Woodland Hills. “And there are no heat lamps. It comes right off the grill to you.”

Waitress Mary Wood has been working there for 26 years. Her assessment: “It’s friendly, it’s busy, it’s like a family--and the tips are good.”

Better Biking

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If you haven’t ridden a bike in a while, what you may remember most is how uncomfortable the seat was--and how uncomfortable your own was when you were finished. A number of innovations have made bicycle riding more pleasurable for everyone--babies, toddlers and adults.

“One of the greatest innovations to come along is seat covers that are filled with gel made by Spenco. It’s the gel that was originally designed for a body prosthesis,” said Joe Witzman, owner of Chatsworth Cyclery and All-Pro Bicycles in Simi Valley. “They also make bicycle gloves with gel inside them. It conforms to your body more.”

Baby seats have also come a long way. “They now tilt back so that a very young baby wearing a helmet doesn’t have its neck bent over. The babies are in a more comfortable reclining position,” Witzman said.

The latest innovation for young children is a trailer that hitches onto the back of a bicycle, called a Burley Lite Trailer. “Even if the rider spills, the trailer stays upright,” Witzman said. It has room for two children with a combined weight of 125 pounds. “This is for the serious cycling family, though, because a baby seat runs from $45 to $100, whereas this trailer runs around $300,” he said.

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As for racing cyclists, the newest craze is aerobars--especially after Greg LeMonde won the Tour de France with them. The handlebars put the body in a more aerodynamic position. “They are for a very narrow group of cyclists who are very athletically inclined because you do lose some control by extending your body out over the front wheel like that,” Witzman said.

The rest of us will be satisfied with a simple gel saddle.

Model Senior Citizens

“When you’re at home, you don’t dress for breakfast--you walk around in your robe. But here you have more opportunities to get dressed up,” Ann Fishman, 82, said about life at the Wedgewood Retirement Hotel in Tarzana. “I enjoy nice clothes. So every day it’s a different outfit.”

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More than 20 senior citizens live at the Wedgewood, which opened in December. ‘It’s very unusual because we have a lot of men here,” said Greta Rosenberg, activity and social director. “It’s like an extended family--everyone is concerned about everyone else.”

They do like a good time. On June 10, the residents will hold a champagne brunch and fashion show at the Wedgewood. “About six or seven of the ladies here will be modeling clothes from Draper’s in Sherman Oaks Fashion Square,” Rosenberg said. “Most of the ladies are in their 70s or 80s, and two of the models use walkers.”

Brunch is $7.95 and starts at 11:30 a.m.; the runway show begins at 1:30 p.m. Watch out, Paulina and Cindy.

Overheard

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“What’s so modern about voice mail? It takes about 10 times longer to get through to someone when a computer instead of an operator answers the phone.”

--Man eating at the counter of Bobby’s Coffee Shop in Woodland Hills


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